I saw a friend of mine recently who asked what I had done over the weekend, and I replied with “visited Buffalo”. To which she replied “to shop?” and I said “no”. Confused, she asked what we could have done then.
I love Art Deco and old buildings, and Buffalo has lots. We frequently stay at the Hyatt Regency as it is right downtown and easy walking distance to everything. Really the way Buffalo was laid out (think spokes on a wheel) makes it easy to explore. As do the signs in the downtown core which explain the architectural features of the city, past and present. So late Friday afternoon, we walked around.
The Hyatt is built around the old Genesee Bank
We explored City Hall, going to the very top (for free) to walk around the observation deck. Inside there were murals that traced historically the development of Buffalo and highlighted key events. I loved the interior of the City Hall lobby with its soaring Art Deco decorations, the elevator banks with their distinct doors and even outside the inlay at the top of the building with its geometrical shapes.
Elevators on the main floor of City Hall.
Ceiling in the elevator area of City Hall.
View from the top of City Hall. You can see the how the streets have been laid out.
The ceiling outside at the entrance to City Hall.
Right outside City Hall there are numerous examples of period architecture ranging from pre 1900 to current. We walked around a lot Friday, finding pockets of restaurants and historical homes. There is a Mansion Row with stately homes, next to brightly coloured houses. We had a drink in the Hotel Lafayette, whose Pan American bar boasted a hunting room with a fireplace big enough to fit at least 5 people standing up. We continued wandering around downtown and Allentown for the afternoon before stopping for a patio drink. For dinner, we went to West Chippewa where it seemed the nightlife was and chose a bar with local/state beers on tap. This is a goal when we travel to try as many local brews as we can, and Buffalo offers many beers from NY state.
The Prudential Building. Intricate terra cotta facade
Hard to see but there are two Statue of Liberties at either end of the roof.
Saturday was for the typical Canadian Buffalo visit – Target and Trader Joe’s! We wandered around more, swam in the hotel pool and then went to Pearl Street Brewery for dinner. Pearl Street has created a Brewery District in Buffalo (one bar was the Pan American at the Lafayette) where their own microbrews can be found. Dinner was not as memorable as our previous visit there unfortunately, but as always the beers were good.
We always try to visit a museum when travelling. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery , found across from the University, was a great way to spend Sunday morning. Did you know that if you have an AGO contributing membership that you get in free as part of their reciprocal benefits? Or visit the AKAG on a Sunday when it is also free! We loved wandering around the building and exploring the exhibition Overtime: The art of work.
Last on our visit was walking around the neighbourhood of Elmwood Village and brunch. This neighbourhood was bright, friendly and had numerous shops, restaurants and green spaces and really felt like a small town. We decided on brunch at the Blue Monk because of their extensive beer list.
We really enjoyed exploring Buffalo. We heard that there is a beer festival in the summer, maybe a return trip?